With Chelsea’s disappointing elimination from the Champions League in midweek to Paris Saint-Germain, it is guaranteed that Roman Abramovich and Jose Mourinho will be even more motivated to be crowned European champions next season.
To achieve this, summer expenditure seems likely, but keeping the current star-studded Blues squad together will also be critical to the West London club’s chances of success.
Given the amount of money that Chelsea’s stars are paid and the likelihood of the Premier League title this term, seeing a first-team player leave seems unlikely.
However, the only real concern surrounds Branislav Ivanovic and his expiring contract.
The Serbian defender’s current deal culminates in the summer of 2016, with reports in the press that he has been offered an extension to take him up to the following summer.
There is no doubting Ivanovic’s importance to the Blues; versatile enough to play at either full-back or centre-back, powerful and determined, he is arguably the Premier League’s best defender.
However, an internal policy of offering players over the age of 30 a mere one-year extension could well isolate Ivanovic and play a negative part in ongoing contract negotiations.
The likes of Didier Drogba and Ashley Cole have left Stamford Bridge in the past, turning down 12-month extension options from the Blues in the process, and the last thing that Chelsea want is to enter a similar situation with Ivanovic.
The Serbian is seemingly confident enough at securing a new deal that he does not even need to employ an agent for assistance, but it would be somewhat surprising if the star is satisfied with extending his current contract for only one more year.
With the likes of Real Madrid accredited with a reported interest and a vast number of suitors surely available if Ivanovic did consider leaving Stamford Bridge, the 31-year-old could practically pick his next employers if he so wished.
As the Eastern European shows no signs of ageing and continues to contribute massively to the Blues’ chances of silverware, Chelsea will be tempted to break their one-year policy for over 30s this time round.
The last thing that the club needs is uncertainty and constant media speculation over the future of one of their top performers, similar to the will-he, won’t-he saga that has played out surrounding John Terry and Frank Lampard in recent seasons.
Chelsea will maintain that no single player is more important than the club – and that is true.
However, to keep Ivanovic happy, motivated and playing to his best, offering him a longer-term contract makes sense.
Replacing the Serbian enforcer with a player of the same stature, physicality, awareness and experience would take some doing, regardless of their Russian owner’s endless financial reserves.
When young players are thrown into the breach the saying ‘if you’re good enough, you’re old enough’ is often applied – the same applies here to Chelsea’s integral elder statesman, who deserves a longer term deal as a reward for stellar performances.